Cloud native is transforming the digital economy, allowing businesses to differentiate themselves and maximize the benefits of cloud. Why? Because cloud-native applications are built in the cloud, for the cloud and thereby optimize all of cloud’s capabilities, including agility, flexibility and scalability. This is unlike the most current cloud solutions, which are adapted on-premise applications that aren’t designed to take advantage of the cloud architecture.
For example, cloud-native apps can scale horizontally as opposed to vertically, which allows them to easily scale up and down as required. Horizontal scaling essentially means that you can connect multiple servers together, which all act as a single entity.
Cloud native will answer our customers’ growing demands for a faster release pace and time to market, easier management, superior user experience and reduced costs. This will be achieved primarily through containerization and cloud standards. To build cloud-native apps, developers rely on technologies such as containers, microservices and APIs. This also means that cloud native avoids the crater in roadmaps for enterprises that is vendor lock-in.
We believe that cloud native is the future of application development, which is why it is central to our Engage 2025 strategy. We see cloud native as an enabler for all our business and a platform for enriching our solutions with AI and analytics. Analysts agree with this assessment. For example, Gartner predicts that by 2022 more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, up from 30% today.
Cloud native: a stream of digital disruption
Cloud native has distinct advantages over traditional software development including faster code development and coding, quicker turnaround of services and server-less computing, all of which simplifies the process of deploying code into the production cycle. The scalability of microservice modules makes it easier for developers to build, deploy and scale services independently, giving cloud-native applications their trademark resilience, scalability and reusability.
As part of our Engage 2025 strategy, we are developing a common cloud-native value proposal for our customers and plan to build and share common technical stacks and strategies with our technology partners to accelerate its uptake. To achieve this, we are rapidly creating a robust cloud-native partner ecosystem to support cloud-native transformation.
At the same time, we will support development and modernization strategies in container technologies, open our application programming interfaces (APIs) and enhance our DevOps practices. With the adoption of cloud native, DevOps practices will fundamentally change how teams work. Development teams will need to adopt cross-functional methods, for example, to support a collaborative and iterative approach that meets business goals. In light of this, we will transform the way our DevOps teams work to answer new business challenges at pace utilizing a cloud-native approach.
Cloud native is also essential to scaling up our platform strategy, which is core to Engage 2025. Platforms are essential in reusing our own and our partners’ “bricks” or components in new services and solutions, as well as system integration. This will be done by opening our APIs to the wider developer community. Everything in our portfolio will be built on APIs.
These platforms are also being designed to engage our partners and customers in more co-innovation projects going forward.
Beyond a meeting of clouds
For us, cloud native is also the meeting point between the telecoms and IT world, with software-defined networks and 5G both running on cloud-native software.
This convergence will be even more obvious with the arrival of edge computing, enabling “edge native” applications. These are applications specifically created to exploit the potential of edge computing, such as low-latency off-load and bandwidth scalability. By 2023, over 50% of new enterprise infrastructure will be deployed at the edge rather than corporate date centers, up from under 10% in 2019. By 2024, the number of apps at the edge will increase 800%, according to IDC.
Edge-native applications, for example, can scale to the edge or back to the cloud. This means that services running in the cloud can be moved to the edge to offload cloud resources when there are heavy workloads to deal with.
Cloud native also brings a number of other advantages to the edge. From a security perspective, cloud native can offer secure workload environments, such as containers, to enhance security at the edge, for example. Working together, cloud native and the edge can provide accelerated, large-scale application delivery for edge devices.
Cloud native is already revving its engine
The ultimate goal of cloud native within our Engage 2025 strategy is to accelerate the speed and efficiencies of service creation. This will allow enterprises to react much faster to changes in business dynamics.
Cloud native is undoubtedly a game changing technology for enterprises and one we see as central to the continuing evolution of the cloud.
Editor in Chief, International, at Orange Business Services. I'm in charge of our International website and the English language blogs at Orange Business Services. In my spare time I'm literally captain of my own ship, spending my time on the wonderful rivers and canals of England.